Here's what we know about the track and strength of Hurricane Florence

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Mandatory evacuations issued for Outer Banks ahead of Florence

Florence, a Category 4 storm packing winds of 130 miles per hour (210 kph), was expected to make landfall on Friday, most likely in southeastern North Carolina near the SC border, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect Tuesday in three USA states as forecasters and officials urge people to get ready for devastating winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Florence.

On Monday, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) team flew its four-propeller P-3 craft through the eye of Hurricane Florence, capturing stunning video of the Category 4 storm.

The slow-moving storm, the most severe hurricane to threaten the US mainland this year, was rated a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale and located about 845 miles (1,360 km) east-southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT), according to the NHC.

Florence is projected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm in the early morning hours of Friday.

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, including the entire coast of South Carolina.

More than 400 hundred officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will be stationed in the coastal areas to help assists evacuation and protect property. The storm is forecast to potentially stall once it makes landfall, showering the area in torrential amounts of rain. The rain could lead to life-threatening flash flooding.

Authorities in coastal towns have told residents to pick up sandbags and in North Carolina they are already preparing bulldozers and chain saws in case they are needed in any future clean-up and rescue operations. "Hurricane-force winds, storm surge inundation, again, are all possible in the watch area".

Jeff Stern, coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said that Virginians should expect the storm to last more than just one day.

Two other storms were spinning in the Atlantic as the 2018 hurricane season reaches its peak.

A special NY task force is heading south to help with Hurricane Florence.

The storm could reach as far inland as the Appalachian mountains with heavy rainfall and potential flooding affecting states like Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

The exact timing, location and magnitude of the storm's impacts on the USA southeast coast in not yet clear but forecast tracks show it could make landfall along the Carolinas and southeast Georgia.

Residents of the eastern United States - particularly the Carolinas and Virginia - are bracing for a hurricane, as Hurricane Florence gathers power while forming over the Atlantic. "We are taking Hurricane Florence seriously".

The NHC warned they're likely to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

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